As time ticks down on the Houston Astros' remaining days as a National League team, the decision on who will be their first manager of their American League era apparently is close to resolution.
Astros owner Jim Crane said Tuesday that the team is zeroing in on three or four leading candidates and could come to a decision as early as Friday.
"We've got a few more meetings this week and are hoping to wrap it up," he said. "Depending on who that is, being courteous to the other teams on how that process works and being courteous to the baseball guidelines, we'll make the announcement as soon as we can."
He would not identify the front-runners but added, "We have some pretty strong feelings about a couple of candidates."
Some published reports have identified Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar. Interim manager Tony DeFrancesco and Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter also have interviewed.
The winner inherits a ballclub that with its 4-0 loss Tuesday to the Cardinals has dropped 105 games, one short of last year's team-record total, in 2012.
Astros president George Postolos, general manager Jeff Luhnow and former Astros players Craig Biggio and Enos Cabell are known to have participated in the interviews, and Crane said the eventual decision likely will be one of consensus rather than his individual choice.
"I think this is going to be a collaborative decision," he said. "Really, nobody is going to have the final say. I think it will become obvious as we continue to do the due diligence the guy we will pick, and it will be more or less unanimous."